Pemex, the state-owned Mexican oil company, has sued Siemens SG (NYSE:SI) and the South Korean Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. for $500 million over claims of racketeering violations.
Allegations of bribery have followed Siemens for years, and in 2008 they pleaded guilty to US criminal charges and had to pay $1.6 billion to US and European authorities in order to resolve global bribing allegations.
In this current lawsuit, filed in the US District Court in New York, Pemex has accused the two companies of securing contracts to work on oil refinery modernisation projects via bribes to Pemex officials.
Recently the US has been increasing its enforcement the Foreign Corrupt Practices Law, an anti-bribery law; however it is very unusually for foreign countries to actually take cases to US authorities in search of compensation.
Related Article: Mexico to Privatize State Oil Company Pemex?
Siemens has already been linked with bribery claims in Mexico, which ultimately led to this new case. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stated that in 2004 Siemens paid around $2.6 million to a politically connected consultant who helped them settle cost overrun claims associated with refinery modernisation projects. In the settlement of the case with the SEC Siemens neither admitted nor denied the allegations.
Pemex has listed this SEC case as the cause for its current investigation into “whether any of its dealings with Siemens were tainted by bribery,” and the subsequent findings.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com